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First World War Timeline
April to June 1916

Places > Bedford > First World War > First World War Timeline

Based on local newspaper research in the Bedfordshire Times and Independent.
[Notes in square brackets have been added by the compiler to clarify, where needed, and to set the local event in a national context.]
Compiled by local historian Stuart Antrobus.

7 April 1916

P4 (Col 7)
'Mr F. Kellaway, M.P. on Munition Work' Addressing the Women's Liberal Association... at the Liberal Club [Bedford]... he highlighted the role of women in munitions work: The Ministry of Munitions had transformed this country from a peaceful commercial land into a gigantic munitions factory and arsenal. Women had helped enormously. There were in the munitions industries 195,000 workers... and he could not speak too highly of the women's work. He had seen girls fresh from school engaged in producing difficult parts of a shell. In some of these occupations women had proved themselves more adaptable than men. On one type of machine where a man's record was 30 per hour, a woman who had left dressmaking for engineering, kept up a record of 75 per hour.'

14 April 1916

P5 (Col 3)
'Easter Eisteddfod for Welsh Division: For the Scots, Highland Games, for the Welshmen, an Eisteddfod. Last Easter Monday's Highland Games will be remembered in Bedford as long and as pleasantly as the Scottish invasion. This Easter the Borough Recreation Committee, mindful of the Welsh inborn love of music and their national institution, the Eisteddfod, are marking their stay here with an Eisteddfod on Easter Monday. It will be held in the Skating Rink...'

21 April 1916

P4 (Col 6)
'Notes of the Week: The County Appeals Tribunal are certainly doing all they can to get farmers to employ women, as witness the following dialogue:-
Mrs Prothero: Have you tried women?
Applicant: There are none round our way.
Mrs Prothero: They will work if you would pay and train them.
Mr Eve: Have a little faith and get a few women.
We hope the applicant, who is a farmer working 350 acres, will take the good advice given. It only needs a few large farmers to set the example in Bedfordshire, and we have no doubt that the experiment will be found to answer well. The dearth of men labourers, great as it is now will get worse as the temporary exemptions expire, and more labour must be found somehow. The farmers must show themselves to give women a chance... Who will lead the way in applying for them?''
P5 (Col 7)
'Women on the Land: Farmers requiring women to work on the land are expected to communicate with the Village Registrar. District Representatives are responsible for the smooth working of the scheme, and in our advertisement columns will be found full particulars of the appointments which have been made by the Women's County War Agricultural Committee up to the present.'

28 April 1916

P5 (Cols 1-4)
'The Eisteddfod: List of Awards: The Prize Poem & the Chairing of the Bard: Some of the Impromptu Speeches' A full report and photos of the Easter Monday event in Bedford at the Skating Rink on the Embankment.

5 May 1916

P4 (Col 6)
Regarding the Easter Rising by republican groups [later combining as Sinn Fein] in Dublin, an armed insurrection over six days, attempting to take control of Ireland and set up an independent republic: 'Notes of the Week: The brief but horrible nightmare of the Sinn Fein rising is over, and all who know Dublin will deplore the havoc which has been made in the heart of it and the misery and loss of life which have been inflicted upon so many innocent people... The one consolation in the whole tragic business is that we now know that the Irishmen who are amongst our best troops at the front are the real representatives of their country, and not the mad and deluded dupes who took part in this insane rising.'

12 May 1916

P5 (Col 3)
'County War Agricultural Committee: ...the Committee had another communication from the Board [of Agriculture] enclosing a proposed scheme for the training and education of women working in connection with agriculture... a resolution was passed to be sent to the County Education Committee, asking that young girls on leaving school should be afforded opportunities of instruction in milking... The Committee also resolved that school girls of 13 and upwards, who had made satisfactory attendance, should be excused so that they could help on farms during the summer...'

19 May 1916

P1 (Cols 6-7)
Cinema adverts: 'The Picturedrome: Official War Film: With Lord Kitchener in France'.
P1 (Col 7)
Addition to Salvation Army event notice: 'Be punctual, remembering this is the first day of the new Daylight Saving Act' .
P4 (Col 5)
'Daylight Saving: 2am [on 21 May 1916] put forward all clocks and watches by one hour [to 3 am]... The chief object of the regulation is to reduce the number of hours during which artificial lighting is used in the evenings, and so save the nation part of the fuel and oil for lighting and release large quantities for war purposes.'

26 May 1916

P1 (Cols 6-7)
Public notice: 'Women on the Land: A demonstration of work by Women Experts from other counties or otherwise: A Competition with prizes for Bedfordshire-born Women and for those who are working in Agriculture in the county... on Thursday June 8, at two o'clock at Mr Chibnal's Homestead, Biddenham... Competitions in Milking, Harnessing and Managing Horses, Hoeing and Setting Out, Weeding, Driving Stock, Handling and Management of Calves... Women's War Agricultural Committee...'

2 June 1916

P5 (Cols 3-4)
Two photos. 'A war trophy for Bedford: The German field gun which was captured by the 7th Division, in which no battalion won greater honour than the Bedfords, was on Wednesday handed over to the town. Shortly before mid-day a squad of wounded soldiers, headed by the band of the 2nd Bedfords, brought the gun from the Barracks.'

9 June 1916

P5 (Col 2)
'Women on the Land:... there were very large crowds witnessing the operations on the Grove farmstead and in a field off the Bedford Road... Biddenham... The County Education Committee has a scheme for teaching women and girls milking, and part of the equipment is an artificial udder fitted with four teats for practice without injury to the cow. This appliance was inspected with much interest... '

16 June 1916

P1 (Col 7)
'County War Agricultural Committee: Work on the Land: A large number of Holiday Workers are required on Bedfordshire Farms at once – Men, Women, Girls, Boys. They are required for light work, and no previous experience is necessary. Appropriate wages will be paid.'
P6 (Cols 3-4)
Four photos and extensive report on 'Women Workers on the Land: Demonstrations at Biddenham' [Thursday 8 June]. 23 June 1916 P6 (Cols 3-4) Weekly 'Bedford Borough Tribunal' report. The appeal tribunal dealt with mainly one-man businesses, where the man was appealing against being drafted into the armed forces. Some were refused, other given conditional exemptions.

30 June 1916

P1 (Cols 6-7)
Cinema advertisement: 'The Palace: Official War Film: The Destruction of a Fokker' [a German fighter plane].
P7 (Col 3)
'Bedford Rural District Tribunal': Some thirty applications, many relating to agricultural workers.

Page last updated: 1st May 2014